In the Gorge

2017-04-18 06:01
 Photo: suppliedA caracal.

Photo: suppliedA caracal.

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THIS month we feature the Caracal (Rooikat, nDabushe) the largest predator to be found in the Kloof Gorge.

The caracal is a medium size cat, normally golden or sand in colour although in some areas they are grey. It has very distinguishing black edge to the ears with long tufts which give them an unmistakable appearance. It is often incorrectly called a lynx, but it is not related to the lynx family.

Caracal are active during the day and at night. They are solitary, territorial animals and fearless hunters and will not hesitate to hunt a prey bigger than themselves. The Caracal has also been known to leap into the air to catch and kill flying birds.

Their diet consists mainly of rodents, rock hyrax, birds, including ostrich, small antelopes and rabbits. In Krantzkloof their primary diet is most likely to be Rock Hyraxes.

The gestation period is approximately 68-81 days, and females produce a litter of one to four kittens, with two being the average. They are weaned at 10 weeks, and will remain with their mothers for up to a year.

It is believed that the name is derived from a Turkish word karakulak, meaning “black ear.”

Caracals are excellent acrobats and jumpers and can land safely. In the Middle East caracal were often trained to hunt game birds.

Caracal are relatively new to Krantzkloof and the first sightings were recorded in 2010. Since then they have been frequently recorded on camera traps and females with kittens have been seen by visitors to the reserve. Caracals are not known to be a threat to humans.

Security: walking in the reserve is safe – normal precautions apply when walking in isolated areas- Kloof Conservancy

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